Cobwebs in the chapel and other conservation tasks

Many years ago, 7 to be exact, I went to visit my lovely daughter at her first full time job with the Trust at Powis Castle in Wales. I had a great time and learnt lots about conservation and what she did to maintain the things in the castle. Here she is in that job with her daily checklist clipboard for recording light levels and other important things.

Ellie at Powis

Since then I have visited her at Hardwick House and had an access all areas in the textile store there which was amazing, climbed the chapel tower at Clumber and been a World War 1 Land Girl volunteer. Having a daughter in the heritage industry is fab because as well as all the lovely places she has worked I have had some brilliant behind the scenes fun as well.

Clumber 3 - chapel

On Sunday she was working so I went and volunteered with her again. The first job was cleaning the chapel which involved learning some new dusting skills.

Clumber 20 - chapel

There are some amazing statues in the chapel and they have to be cleaned very carefully with a soft brush as they are extremely fragile being over 130 years old.

Clumber 21 - chapel

Clumber 22 - chapel

Clumber 23 - chapel

I also dusted the gorgeous hanging lights with a very long extendable fluffy duster.This is more complicated than it sounds as the lights are very fragile and the brush needs careful control, not easy when it is eight foot in the air!

There was a lovely exhibition that Ellie had put together of some of the ecclesiastical garments that they have at the chapel. One of my projects over the winter will be some gold work to take to re-enactment. I was thinking of something like this piece on the top left on this montage as I love the simplicity and elegance of the design.

I was also really thrilled to see the candlesticks that I have recently donated to the chapel on the altar. I bought these from a local charity shop about 5 years ago but Ellie mentioned last time she was here that they were looking for some for the chapel as the originals can no longer be on display.

Clumber 16 - chapel

I was going to donate them anyway when I move to Spain so I was very happy for them to go to their new home now. They look amazing, so shiny and sparkling and I am so pleased that they fit in so well.

Clumber 18 - chapel

Clumber 17 - chapel

We also got to visit Nellie, the replica of the trench digging tank that Ellie and her team constructed as part of the WW2 events at Clumber this year.

Clumber 1 - Nellie

It is an amazing feat of construction, all made of wood and it looks so much like the original. There is also an assault course which the children have been enjoying.

Clumber 4 - Ellie

Clumber 5 - Nellie

The afternoon was spent in Ellen’s conservation room and store where I got to see some of the artefacts from the house.

Clumber 24 - chapel

As it was demolished in 1938 there is very little that has been found but anything that is goes in here and is catalogued and stored in conservation grade bags.This is a gorgeous confirmation badge.

Clumber 26 - chapel

Clumber 25 - chapel

Clumber 2 - Nellie

There was a small piece of a cross from the chapel statues that needs to be reattached along with various finds such as some small wooden shields.

Clumber 29 - chapel

I helped with some cataloguing of these and Ellie showed me some of the others including two of her favourite finds from underneath the choir stalls in the chapel.

Clumber 27 - chapel

Clumber 28 - chapel

One is some little boats made from the notes of the hymns to be sung that day and the other a crumpled bag that came from a sweet shop. Clearly some choir boys were getting bored one day! I do love these little bits of social history, they are just as exciting to me as ornate paintings or grand houses.

I am so lucky to have children doing exciting things that they love and it is brilliant that I can share in them.

I am still making felt flowers but am going to stop soon and get back to some knitting as there are Christmas presents to be finished. We are at Lincoln Steampunk this Saturday so I am really looking forward to that. I shall be taking a brolly to protect the tea party hat as we have had some dreadful downpours lately 😦

Hopefully I will get chance to post some pictures before we set off for Scotland next week! Hope that you have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

 

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Warning, tram heavy post!

I have had an absolutely brilliant weekend thanks to my lovely daughter.The BBQ social was excellent, we had lovely food and played lots of games and it was so nice to meet all her team. They are the fantastic rangers and gardeners that look after Clumber Park and a really fun and dedicated group of people. Luckily the weather was good, a little windy and damp later at night but we had a camp in the rose gardens and it was nice enough to have bacon butties outdoors before heading back to Ellen’s for a quick change into our 1940s outfits.

Crich 1

Crich was such a fantastic place. I have never been before and can’t work out why as it not that far away from here. However I haven’t been to any of the other open-air museums either so we must just have missed them all on our travels.

Crich 2

The heavens opened just as we parked and we were absolutely soaked to the skin by the time we got there but luckily it brightened up and we had just about dried off before getting soaked on the way out. Here are Ellen and Charlotte looking damp but happy!

Crich 13

It is amazing how quickly the weather can change at the moment but luckily for the re-enactors it was nice all afternoon and there were lots of people there.

I loved the trams, there were lots in the sheds as well as ones running up and down the street. They have been so beautifully restored and there all sorts of different types.

There was also lots of information about the development of trams and the history of the depots. I loved these pictures of them in action and the celebrations of the openings.

Crich 9

Crich 8

I would love to go back on a non-event day as well as we did not get to see everything. We did have tea in the tearooms above the pub, the whole place is so beautifully built and I love the little touches like the tape on the windows and the vintage signs.

Crich 22

Crich 23

We also had a ride on the tram below and saw the parade of vehicles and some of the group displays.

The tram ride was lovely as it went all the way up into the countryside. The museum is located in an old quarry and there are some lovely woodland walks that you can do, when it is not tipping down and you are not wearing fabric shoes with heels! I was very excited to be given an old penny for my tram fare as well.

Crich 27

Crich 28

I didn’t manage to get many pictures of people in costume but did get this lovely couple having a vintage picnic and a couple who were wearing ARP kit.

Crich 16

Crich 15

The Land Army group who we met last year at Thoresby were there again as well as some of the groups we met at Clumber and this wonderful tent, set out like a 1940s kitchen.

I am hoping to persuade Ellen to let me buy a vintage caravan to do up for 1940s events, I would love to have one like this that we could use for Make do and Mend displays.

Vintage caravan 1

I think she might be coming round to the idea as at least, unlike a tent, you don’t have to dry it off after camping weekends!

We ended with a lovely sing song in the park where all the entertainers were on the bandstand and we had a medley of all the WW2 songs. It was such a lovely day and I can’t wait for my next 1940s event in the autumn.

Crich 33

On Sunday I went to Clumber and did some volunteering. I will devote whole post to that as I got to do some very exciting things and learnt a lot more about looking after the collection.

I am in work all week now as it is A level results time, so will be doing lots of phone duty and catching up on admin. The weekend ahead is all doctorate and then hopefully just a few more days until it is all done.

I hope that you all have a good week ahead, don’t forget to like or comment on this or any post until the 23rd Aug for my flower giveaway. Take care and thanks for visiting.

My latest addiction …. and a giveaway

I have a very addictive personality. Luckily it only manifests itself in craft related ways rather than anything nefarious but it does mean that I tend to get mildly obsessed by one thing and want to do it all the time for a while. Then that wears off and I find something else to obsess over.

At the moment it is little felt flowers. I have moved on from just the 1940s style ones for brooches and combined them with some of my all time favourite Liberty. The first one I made was for a gift and I thought that the combination of colours went really well. This is still very 1940s in tone though the later ones are a lot brighter.

Felt flower brooch mustard

I have found these so therapeutic, I have just been sitting here every evening with a big pile of Liberty scraps and a big pile of felt and combining the pretty colours.

Felt flower collection

I use some lightweight iron on interfacing on the Liberty so it doesn’t fray. Again that is very good for using up off cuts from bag making so very make do and mend.Even though I love purple and pink I have also been using some blues.

Felt flower purple

Felt flower blue

Felt flower blue 2

This fabric below is one of my favourite ever Liberty prints, it is so beautiful.

Felt flower pink 2

I really love this colour combination, I am not normally drawn to orange but these look really good with my purple top hat so I am thinking I might make some for a decoration for that for beer tent wear next year.

Felt flower pink

As I said in the last post some of these, the paired ones, will be going to decorate bags, others I will make into brooches or little hair slides and bobbles for my younger relatives.

Felt flower blue pink

Felt flower blue pair

So to the giveaway! This is my 700th post so I thought that deserves a little celebration. Since I am currently loving the felt flowers I would like to offer a flower brooch, hair pin, bobble of your choice, either a 1940s style one as featured here  or one with Liberty. Let me know what colours you would like as well. I will keep the giveaway open until Fri 23rd August and all you have to do is like or comment on this or any other post until then.

My friends had a lovely time at the Evesham event last weekend, the weather was good and there have been some lovely photos. I was so pleased to see Kerry’s latest make, she came up a couple of weeks ago and we used one of Dave’s old surcoats as a template to make this stunning new one, it took her hours to attach all the stripes and it looks amazing. Picture of the new surcoat is by Jennifer Jane.

Kerry - surcoat 1

Kerry - surcoat 2 - Jennifer Jane

It was lovely to see a picture of Jamie in the surcoat I made him a few years ago. It has done well to be going strong since 2015. He has a new tent in his colours and has made a flag and it is all looking wonderful.

Evesham - Jamie

I am going to have a very exciting weekend. I am going to Clumber for part of it, I have been very kindly invited for a social event with Ellen’s colleagues which means camping over on Friday night. We are off to Crich Tramway museum for a 1940s event on Saturday, then it is back to Clumber on Sunday for the church service in the morning and some volunteering in the afternoon.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead, hopefully there will be lots of fab pictures of both transport and fashion in my next post, I love trams and am very excited to see some vintage ones!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

How to make a fabric teacup … should you ever need one!

I am having a very lovely and very productive weekend. The weather has been brilliant, which is great for all my friends who are at an event this weekend and we have been having a major sort of of all of Jake’s things.

He leaves for Japan in 3 weeks 🙂 so he has been getting rid of things he no longer needs as hopefully, he will love it and be able to stay for a while.We were very inspired by Ellen’s work on the kitchen last week so lots of things have been re-homed.

I have finished the tea party hat and am so pleased with it! It is exactly what I wanted and it looks so cute 🙂

Tea party hat 7

I did a quick bit of embroidery this week on some of the vintage linen I used to make the tablecloth jacket and taped that to some card to make a little sign.

Tea party hat 5

 

Tea party hat 11

The donut is probably a little small in scale but I love the way it looks and any bigger would have obscured the teacup.

Tea party hat 6

I love this little purple cake! I have a whole packet of these little ribbon roses that I bought from Spain and am planning to use some for Barbie dresses.

Tea party hat 2

Tea party hat 1

I found the little spoons from this supplier on Etsy and they are the perfect size.

Tea party hat 3

Tea party hat 10

Ironically it probably took as long to make as a new jacket would have but it was very peaceful sewing of an evening and I am so please with how all of the felt cakes turned out.It is attached to the hat by a combination of double sided foam tape and pins and seems secure. All I need now is a miniature bottle of gin (aka TEA) to go on the front.

I could not find any actual tutorials of how to make a teacup so thought it might be useful to do one here, partly to remind myself as I have plans for another teacup hat for later in the season. The doily is the one I had previously stiffened with Powertex and painted. It is more purple than it looks in this picture.

Making a tea cup1

I started with an Evian bottle and cut both top and bottom with a craft knife. I chose this bottle specifically as it had a nice rounded shape for both cup and saucer.I taped up the bottle to give it a little more stability. I cut the teacup part open for ease of sewing.

 

The patterns I made from the plastic pieces, adding extra for seaming. I cut a layer of thin wadding from these. I then put double sided tape all over the plastic so that I could stick wadding to it.

 

I fussy cut the floral fabric as I wanted to have one of the roses showing on the cup.

 

I sewed the inner fabric first to the wadding with the tea cup still open, then sewed on the outer and stitched it together. I cut a small rose motif out and used it for the cup base.

 

The saucer was done the same way with wadding stuck on first. I could not easily attach the cup to the base due to the curve of the saucer so Ellen came to the rescue with her glue gun. I am definitely going to get one of those as they are so useful for Steampunk creations.

The handle was just a piece of fabric with wadding and a short piece of garden wire to give it shape. It was quite easy to just sew that to the side of the cup. A little bit of lace from stash gives it a final elegant touch and voila, one fabric teacup!

Tea party hat 4

This is what I love about Steampunk, the creativity and the problem solving, I have seen lots of wonderful teacup hats and am so glad I now know how to make one.

I am continuing with felt flowers this afternoon but with a little twist as I am combining them with Liberty fabric. My intention is to make some pouches with them as decoration which I think may sell well at Yarndale.

I have not had much chance to make stock for that yet so will have to get cracking. I have another two weeks before the doctorate is finished and then there will be lots more time for crafting, hurrah!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend whatever you are doing. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Happy World Embroidery Day!

To be honest I didn’t know it was World Embroidery Day today until one of the textile companies I subscribe to e-mailed me about it but it is, so many happy stitching returns to you all.

I was just about to start some new embroidery this evening so that is fortuitous. I have a new project that I will share with you in a bit. If you want to know more about World Embroidery Day you can find out more here. I particularly like the part of this description that says…

‘To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common
remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.’ 

I am sure that all of us who embroider share those sentiments. The lovely Karen from ‘Did You Make That’ has recently taken up embroidery and talks about the different emotions different crafts give us in this post here. I love all of my crafts for different reasons, some can bring frustration as well as joy (the black velvet jacket that never was) but mostly they bring me peace and sanity in a frantic world.

I have been doing a little bit of crafting over the last few days, mainly as respite care from the increasingly frantic work on the doctorate which is due in exactly 2 months from today!

We have had some more people leave work under our latest voluntary redundancy scheme including my very best friend.We have worked together for 15 years and shared wonderful times together. I am very, very happy for them all as they  are off to enjoy retirement or adventures travelling the world but I am very sad to see them go so I made a couple of pouches as gifts for special friends.

Liberty star bag 1

Liberty star bag 2

Liberty star bag 3

These are from some of the blocks I made last year which have been waiting to be turned into something special and details of how to make the bags can be found in this tutorial here. The beautiful lace zips come from Buddly Crafts and I shall be ordering a little restock very soon.

Liberty block bag 1

Liberty block bag 2

The embroidery is part of a new hat for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln over August Bank Holiday. I had contemplated making a new jacket but with the focus needed on the doctorate and a few minor household issues (one involving an expensive boiler repair!) decided that I needed something that would not add any stress.

So I am wearing the tablecloth jacket again but I am making a tea party hat to go with it. I had done some planning for this a while ago for another hat that I have not yet created but am well on the way with it.I loved wearing it last year with the sewing themed hat and it deserves more outings.

Steampunk event Alison 5

I will devote a whole post to the creation of the hat when it is completed but meanwhile here is a sneak preview of a very cute felt cupcake that will be part of the tea party. I have really enjoyed making these, as with the felt flowers it is a joy to work with all the lovely colours of felt and add little beads and embellishments. I used this tutorial to help me and found lots of different ideas and videos for all types of felt food.

Felt cake 1

Felt cake 2

In other exciting news with the help of my wonderful children we repainted the kitchen at the weekend and my daughter very enthusiastically Marie Kondoed the contents meaning I have far less clutter. I was very good and let lots of things go.

We also had a surprise visit from a herd of cows in the back lane. They were being escorted from a farm up the road when they made an unexpected right turn. This picture was taken as they were being escorted off the premises which is why is is a bit blurry. This is why I love living in Marsden, there is never a dull moment 🙂

Cows 1

Well I will love you and leave you and get on with some more of the hat, the embroidery is for a little sign that will say ‘everything stops for tea’ for the front. Take care, thanks for visiting and have a happy week whether you are embroidering or not.

 

What a difference a week makes!

I am sitting here watching torrential rain fall, thinking back to last weekend when we had a beautifully sunny (but not too hot!) weekend at the Tewkesbury event. You’ve got to love England haven’t you, we have the most bizarre weather. It has been raining for two days now and doesn’t look remotely like July, meanwhile last weekend we all got sunburnt.

It was excellent weather for re-enactment, 22 degrees and cloudy so just perfect and we had really good fun as usual. I have got lots of pictures to show you, courtesy of my friend James, the wonderful Pat who takes thousands of photos at each event and posts them for us to use, and another person called Ferez Fee who posted some on Facebook as well. Thanks to everyone who shares pictures with us, it is much appreciated.

The costumes were amazing as always, the ladies looked fantastic, including Kerry in her beautiful Burgundian dress and henin. Here is a back shot of the gorgeous veil as we walked onto the battlefield on Saturday. The picture below shows her coming off the battlefield with another friend Nick who was marshalling.

Tewks 2019 4

 

 

Tewks 2019 9 - Ferez Fee

The photos below are courtesy of Ferez Fee and show the ladies in the King’s and Queen’s camps. I particularly love this one below as it has one of my favourite tapestries, the Lady and the Unicorn, as a backdrop. I have a small version of this in my lounge.

Tewks 2019 5 - Ferez Fee

Tewks 2019 4 - Ferez Fee

Tewks 2019 3

The picture above is of my friend Kat who was wearing her latest amazing head dress. For more pictures and information on its source you can visit her Facebook page here. She also has photos of her equally lovely outfit from Saturday.

One of my favourite photos, also by Ferez Fee,  is of Gwen who plays the Queen just relaxing in her tent with her embroidery by her side, so beautiful.

Tewks 2019 8 - Ferez Fee

There were also some wonderful costumes worn by the men. Here is the young Prince Edward in his tent before getting into armour. Pictures by Ferez Fee.

Tewks 2019 7 - Ferez Fee

I loved this outfit as well, such beautiful detail in every aspect.

Tewks 2019 6 - Ferez Fee

The king and his entourage looked suitably splendid, both on the battlefield with their heraldic surcoats and on their way to the abbey.

Tewks 2019 12 Pat

Tewks 14 Pat

Tewks 2019 5

Tewks 2019 8

This is the only medieval event I am doing this year. A combination of other re-enactments like the WW2 ones, less this year events for our group and the doctorate have meant this is a very quiet summer for me so it was especially lovely to spend time with my friends. We had a new member join us for the event as well, Sam, and she really enjoyed it. Here are all the combatants and watercarriers off to battle with Sam, Ellie and Sadie in front of Symon and Shane.

Tewks 2019 1

This picture from Pat captures Symon and Shane in the battle and I have also got some wonderful ones from him of the gunners and gun smoke, it really does make it so atmospheric.

Tewks 2019 6

Tewks 2019 11 Pat

Tewks 2019 10 Pat

I had a new role this year, that of being a marshal which Kerry and I did on both days. I have been doing this at Tatton and Caldicot for a couple of years and really enjoyed it and it was lovely to be involved in a different way this year at Tewkesbury. You can just spot me at the back of this picture in my blue dress. Margaret of Anjou has just slapped Edward 4th at the start of the battle here.

Tewks 2019 9 Pat

I enjoyed talking to the crowd and watching all of the armies march on past us. It was amazing to see even though I know how many combatants there are it was still very impressive. I love to see the flags and hear the drums, it is just magic!

Tewks 2019 7

Tewks 2019 8 Pat

We managed to go to the beheading at the abbey and the beautiful Compline service this year which was wonderful.It is a candlelit service where the monks sing and it was a brilliant end to the day. Next year I will go in the parade as well, we have not been for a few years and there were many more floats this year including this wonderul dragon.

Tewks 2019 2

I luckily am staying in all day today so don’t have to venture out in the rain.  I am still working my way through lots of WIPs. I really need to be strict with myself before I start any new projects so today’s tasks are to finish a flower brooch and a pouch. Kerry is coming for a sewing day tomorrow and we will be sorting out a surcoat for an event she is attending in a couple of weeks.

I hope you are all having a good weekend and are not getting too soaked if you are in the UK. I was half planning a BBQ this weekend but think that will have to be postponed 😉 Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Finding my people

Long time, no blog! I hope you have all been having fun while I have been away. I had a wonderful time at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, both in the sessions and in meeting wonderful people and socialising. It was so lovely to meet people who were interested in the same things that I am. I made some very useful contacts including some people who sent me their research which was very kind of them. It is brilliant to know that there are people out there interested in the same things that I am and I came home very enthused about my doctorate.

It was wonderful to be in such a lovely environment. I stayed in student halls which took me back a bit, though they were much more sophisticated than in my day, more like Travelodge rooms. Leeds University campus is very similar to ours with a mix of different period buildings and these were my favourite ones. Quite fitting given my interest in textiles as they were the Clothworkers’ Court.

IMC Buildings 1

IMC Buildings 2

IMC Buildings 7

In the lobby there was a display of dyeing samples. I can just imagine the workers in the local textile industry coming to have lectures all about the different processes.

I went to quite a few really interesting presentations on textiles as well as ones on pilgrim badges and manuscripts. In total I attended about 36 separate presentations so I had a very busy week.

One of the most fascinating was about how they make facsimile manuscripts. There was a presentation and display by a company based in Germany, Zeireis Facsimiles,  where they showed the very complex process which was really amazing. They had some gorgeous reproductions including one of Mary Stuart’s book of hours below in the velvet cover.

IMC 6 Manuscript

IMC 1 Manuscript

IMC 3 Manuscript

IMC 2 Manuscript

There were also displays every lunchtime from the Brotherton Library, which is based at Leeds University. Those were fascinating, though some were not as ornate as others, but just amazing that they have survived this long.

IMC 10 Manuscript

IMC 9 Manuscript

I would love to go over and look at some of the manuscripts there so will try and factor that in to some free time after completing the doctorate.One other interesting thing was that they hold the collection of drawings from one of the major sources we use for costume research for re-enactment, by Herbert Norris, so I would love to look at those.

On the last day there was a medieval market with displays and stalls including one of my favourite textile people, Tanya Bentham from Threads of Time. She has the most amazing embroidery on her blog, Opus Anglicanum.

IMC Market 10

I also saw the lovely Jim of Trinity Court Potteries who I buy all my medieval ware from as well as one of my favourite thread suppliers, the Mulberry Dyer, who were doing a rope making demonstration. There was also book binding and falconry, it was just like being at a re-enactment event!

IMC Market 9

IMC Market 1

IMC Market 8

The combat displays were done by a very good group called Three Swords, you might recognise the heraldry on this shield as Jamie in our group also portrays De Warrene.

IMC Market 6

IMC Market 7

I loved the outfits that the Eran ud Turan group were wearing, such amazing fabric! They have a blog here which I am going to devote some time to as they have information about all the wonderful places that I want to travel to when I retire.

I have had a busy week since getting back from the conference, I made a shirt for Jamie as well as doing lots of sorting out and catching up from being away for nearly three weeks and then was off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event for last weekend. I will post about that next time as I need to collect some more pictures of the event first.

In other news the boiler has been poorly, it is nearly fixed but it is going to be quite expensive so I am glad that I have not got much else planned to do this summer. Jake is off in London today sorting out his visa for Japan which is very exciting, fingers crossed all will go well and he can start getting the final arrangements made.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, I shall be mainly working on the doctorate with a bit of work admin thrown in but plan to have some time at the weekend to craft. I seem to have quite a long to do list and really need to decide on an outfit for Lincoln at the end of August.

Take care and thanks for visiting.